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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 12  |  Page : 2132-2140

Comparison between direct repair and human acellular nerve allografting during contralateral C7 transfer to the upper trunk for restoration of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion


Department of Orthopedic Trauma and Microsurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China

Correspondence Address:
Jian-Tao Yang
Department of Orthopedic Trauma and Microsurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
China
Li-Qiang Gu
Department of Orthopedic Trauma and Microsurgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.262600

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Direct coaptation of contralateral C7 to the upper trunk could avoid the interposition of nerve grafts. We have successfully shortened the gap and graft lengths, and even achieved direct coaptation. However, direct repair can only be performed in some selected cases, and partial procedures still require autografts, which are the gold standard for repairing neurologic defects. As symptoms often occur after autografting, human acellular nerve allografts have been used to avoid concomitant symptoms. This study investigated the quality of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion following direct repair and acellular allografting to evaluate issues requiring attention for brachial plexus injury repair. Fifty-one brachial plexus injury patients in the surgical database were eligible for this retrospective study. Patients were divided into two groups according to different surgical methods. Direct repair was performed in 27 patients, while acellular nerve allografts were used to bridge the gap between the contralateral C7 nerve root and upper trunk in 24 patients. The length of the harvested contralateral C7 nerve root was measured intraoperatively. Deltoid and biceps muscle strength, and degrees of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion were examined according to the British Medical Research Council scoring system; meaningful recovery was defined as M3–M5. Lengths of anterior and posterior divisions of the contralateral C7 in the direct repair group were 7.64 ± 0.69 mm and 7.55 ± 0.69 mm, respectively, and in the acellular nerve allografts group were 6.46 ± 0.58 mm and 6.43 ± 0.59 mm, respectively. After a minimum of 4-year follow-up, meaningful recoveries of deltoid and biceps muscles in the direct repair group were 88.89% and 85.19%, respectively, while they were 70.83% and 66.67% in the acellular nerve allografts group. Time to C5/C6 reinnervation was shorter in the direct repair group compared with the acellular nerve allografts group. Direct repair facilitated the restoration of shoulder abduction and elbow flexion. Thus, if direct coaptation is not possible, use of acellular nerve allografts is a suitable option. This study was approved by the Medical Ethical Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, China (Application ID: [2017] 290) on November 14, 2017.


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